Tag Archives: Book Fair

Zoe Murphy – author and poet

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I met the fabulous Zoe Murphy at the first Llandysul Book Fair, organised by Cheryl Beer of Parlour Press Publishing. A new poetry anthology was being released during the day, and we, authors and public, were treated to poets reading their work.  As another Welsh writer I didn’t know well, I invited her to have a chat, and tell us more about herself…

1 How do you write? Is everything plotted, planned to perfection? Do you ever change tack as

you go along or always stick to a pre-made plan?

I am a complete Pantser. I always have a rough idea of plot and characters, but I very much make it up as I go along which isn’t always productive if I’m honest. The book I am writing now has evolved and changed in so many ways and that’s because I am interested in too many things! But, I have finally set my cap with what I am doing, and I’ve adopted a more methodical approach by planning my characterisation and chapters. While I like to feel like I’m free when writing, I have had to concede and have some kind of organised chaos.

2 Do you have a writing ritual? Meditation, certain cup for your tea, writing trousers?

 I think I am quite eclectic when it comes to my writing time and rituals and I don’t have a set ritual really. However, one thing I always do, is listen to music. I have specific playlists which get me in the zone and are almost a soundtrack to my book. Music has been my saviour and it really helps and inspires my writing process.

 

3 Aside from writing, what makes you tick? Tell us 5 things about yourself we probably don’t know.

  1. I am also a performance poet and I was part of a TV programme called ‘Ugly Lovely: Poet on the Estate’ in 2014. Poetry wasn’t a great love of mine but it is now.
  2. I used to be a Street Dance teacher and absolutely love Hip Hop and 90’s R ‘n’ B.
  3. 80’s movies particularly Brat Pack films- Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles and Teen Witch!
  4. I avidly watch trashy reality TV such as TOWIE, Love Island…(guilty pleasure.)
  5. Gin (especially ones that have flavours or pretty colours.)

 

4 If you were stranded on a desert island with shelter, food and water, what 5 items would you

want with you?

  1. Pen
  2. Paper
  3. Picture of my children
  4. Mascara
  5. Kindle

5 On said island, what 5 books would you take and why?

 

This is a hard one!

  1. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden- I could read this book over and over and over. Evocative and rich in detail. Beautiful story.
  2. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood- The fact that the majority of the book is from a female perspective and it was a bit of a different approach to the dystopian genre.
  3. Lucky by Jackie Collins- Pure escapism.
  4. The Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson- This introduced a really cool magical power and an original take on fantasy fiction. Could read it over and over.
  5. My Grimoire

 

6 Off the island now, which famous person would you like to have dinner with?­

 

Anjelica Houston- Incredible actress and I’d like to ask about her Dad too as he has directed some of my favourite films.

 

7 Your current writing projects?

 

I am currently on the second book of a fantasy series I am writing set in Wales and involving witches and Welsh/Norse mythology. The first in the series is called Promise: Unearthed and I am to launch the first two instalments in February 2019.

I am also writing a Creative Education book as I am a lecturer and I have a passion for creative teaching techniques and would like to provide some inspiration for fellow teachers.

 

8 Other published work and links….

 

https://zoetryweb.wordpress.com/ My blog

 

https://www.facebook.com/ZoeMAuthor/ FB page for links and news

 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1404242866503911/ Poets on the Hill FB page.

 

Promise Novels:

 

Promise Unearthed

Seven

Released Feb 2019

 

Thanks so much for taking the time to come and share, Zoe. It’s been lovely having you.

For more author interviews, book reviews, writerly musings, dance, plant based recipes and magic, visit again. Bright blessings xx

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Cheryl Beer – author of ‘Soul Seeds’, ‘Soul Ink’ and ‘The Truth is in There’

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I met Cheryl at the storytelling event at The Botanic Gardens of Wales, and she kindly invited me to her first book fair in Llandysul, hosted by herself as Parlour Press Publishing on 29th September. Today, she shares her writing schedule and five things you may not know…

1 How do you write? Is everything plotted, planned to perfection? Do you ever change tack as you go along or always stick to a pre-made plan?

I write in free fall. I let my soul connect to my pen and leave the rest to trust. Sometimes, I don’t even know that I am writing, especially since waking up two years ago with sudden hearing loss, tinnitus and hyperacusis. I find that on awakening, I have fully formed poems, stories and songs in my head. It helped me to write them down and then I found that in actual fact, I had been recording these pearls of wisdom onto my phone in my sleep. There are literally hundreds of recordings. These have become the basis for my new books, Soul Seeds and Soul Ink and The Truth is in There.

Writing started for me even before I could write, if that makes sense. When I first started school, I was labelled a bit of a day dreamer, but actually, in my head I was writing stories and poems and little songs. Then one Monday morning in Primary School, the teacher asked us to write our Weekend News and instead, I wrote a story about a black rose growing in my garden. I was so proud of it. I remember drawing the black rose across the page with the stem and thorns intertwining with the words. Well, it got me into terrible trouble. So, my Mum took me to one side and quietly asked me to ‘just write what actually had happened at the weekend, instead of making things up’.

The following Monday, I wrote ‘We went to the social club and my Dad got drunk again.’ As you can imagine, this didn’t go down too well either. So, it seemed that neither my imagination nor the truth, were acceptable fodder for Weekend News.

In response, my beautiful Mum gave me a little notebook, within which I could write whatever I wanted and in school, I was to write whatever they wanted. I decorated the front cover of that little book and kept it in a box under my bed. Inside, it soon became filled with stories and poems. There have been very many little books under the bed since then, nurturing my passion for creative writing and subsequently publishing, because writing and books have always gone hand in hand for me.

Cheryl inside the Dylan Thomas Writing Shed at Laugharne when she was one of 9 Poets in Residence for the year of the DT100. Photograph Jeff Beer.

2 Do you have a writing ritual? Meditation, certain cup for your tea, writing trousers?

Writing is my life rather than a special occasion. It can happen anywhere at any time; scraps of paper in cafes, backs of receipts, whatever I have to hand. I have a little notebooks scattered everywhere, just in case.

3 Aside from writing, what makes you tick? Tell us 5 things about yourself we probably don’t know.

1 Helping other people to engage with creative writing. I grew up on a council estate and there were very clear messages about who became a writer, and it wasn’t us. So, I have spent a great deal of my life undoing that stereotype for marginalised communities. For instance, in 2015, I won the Gold Wales National Care Award for my work in Creative Writing and Publishing for Older People with Dementia. http://www.parlourpress.net

 

  1. I love making quirky little books and poetry pockets out of felt. I have a little lap tray and make them as a distraction for my tinnitus in the evenings. I have hundreds of them. It is always my intention to sell them and sometimes I do, but I find it hard to let them go. I like to make the little books to reflect the story or poem in them. They are an extension of the story, of my story.

 

  1. I am a volunteer storyteller at Skanda Vale Hospice. I love going there. I adapt storytelling so that it can be an inclusive, one to one experience at the bedside of those who are at the end of their life. Usually, it inspires them to tell me about their life story.

 

  1. I am fascinated by people’s life stories. And people seem to love telling them to me. Even as a child, I would stand at the bus stop waiting to go to school and know everyone’s life story by the time the bus came. I now run sound memories dementia friendly radio station which is an award winning digital story project, collecting life story. http://www.soundmemoriesradio.com

 

  1. Reading this back, I realise that my life is so immersed in writing, that the things that make me tick outside of my own writing, are associated with it. I even met the love of my life, Jeff, through writing. I auditioned for his band 32 years ago and we became collaborative songwriters before we were lovers. Incidentally, we snook off last week and secretly got married. We had poems in the ceremony. Guess who wrote them?

 

4 If you were stranded on a desert island with shelter, food and water, what 5 items would you

want with you?

I don’t really need items. I could find a stick and write in the sand. I do need Jeff, my lovely new husband and Maisy, my little King Charles Spaniel. Other than that, I can make do. It will be exciting finding out what the island has to offer.

5 On said island, what 5 books would you take and why?

I don’t think I would take any books. Once I have read a book, it stays with me for always. I don’t need to read it again. I might ask 5 friends to recommend books I haven’t found myself, so it will be a nice suprise or more likely, take 5 blank books and keep journals about my adventure on the island, press flowers in them, though it would be more exciting to make books out of banana leaves and ink from berries.

 

6 Off the island now, which famous person would you like to have dinner with?­

I have had dinner with quite a lot of famous people, when I was a touring singer/songwriter, the festivals would lay out tables for us backstage. I really was very blessed to work with the people that had been my heroes and to meet lots of wonderfully inspirational folk.

For instance, I was commissioned to write a song for Prince Charles when he opened Llanhilleth Institute and I stood right in front of him, performing it. That was pretty amazing really, that a daydreamer from the council estate could be stood in front of the Prince of Wales performing one of her songs. I don’t think I could ever have imagined that as a child. So, probably, I would like to have dinner with someone who is no longer here. To be honest, my first thought was, oh can I have dinner with my Grandad, please. He’s not famous, but he was the most beautiful human being.

 7 Your current writing projects?

Soul Seeds: Planting Heartfelt Stories

Soul Ink for the Morning

The Truth is in There

Cheryl performing on the main stage at Women in Tune. Photograph Roweena Russell.

 Fallen on Deaf Ears

A tribute album being recorded by other artists of my song archive organised by Mike Kennedy of Welsh Connection Magazine and Radio Tircoed, being released by Death Monkey Records.

 Say it in the Sand

I have composed a piece of improvised music for a collection of films made by Sean Corcoran, an amazing artist at The Art Hand on the Copper Coast, The films are part of an International Prevent Suicide Campaign, based in Ireland.

 Soul Ink Songs

I am currently working on a collection of new songs, finding new ways to perform and record as a hearing impaired person. Jeff is patiently and kindly sound engineering for me.

 Sendelica

The band Sendelica have released a limited edition 12 inch single of a remix track that I recorded with them prior to my hearing loss. It is the most amazing, far our piece of psychedelic.

 The Parlour Press Anthology

I am compiling an Anthology for the Inaugural Parlour Press Book Fayre with poets from across Wales and two international guest poets.

Sound Memories Radio

I am in R&D for  a Silent Nature project with people who have end stage dementia.

Parlour Press

I am working with a client to collate a book of the songs that define her husband’s life, to help him remember his sense of self since moving into a dementia friendly care home. He has been a folk musician and his music helps him to remember.

 

 8 Other published work and links….

Best to come to my websites …

http://www.cherylbeer.com

http://www.parlour press.net

http://www.soundmemoriesradio.com

It never ceases to amaze me that every month @ 4000 people follow my Fusion Inspire: Journey Through the Creative Mind Blog. It has had over 140,000 views.

http://www.fusioninspire.blogspot.com

Meet Cheryl, myself and a host of other authors in Llandysul 29th September.

Thank you so much for sharing, Cheryl, and I’m looking forward to 29th!

Follow me for more author interviews, writerly stuff, tried and tested plant based recipes, dance and magic.

 

 

 

Thorne Moore – author and co-organiser of the Narberth Book Fair

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Thorne Moore is a wonderful writer and supports Judith Barrow in organising the Narberth Book Fair. You met Judith earlier in the week https://wendysteele.com/2018/09/10/judith-barrow-author-and-co-organiser-of-the-narberth-book-fair/, so now it’s Thorne’s turn to share a little of her writing life and what makes her tick….

1 How do you write? Is everything plotted, planned to perfection? Do you ever change tack as

you go along or always stick to a pre-made plan?

I wouldn’t say everything is totally unplanned, but I certainly don’t work it out in detail. I have an idea of where it should go, an image – usually of a location – and a cluster of characters who are mostly 2 dimensional until I start writing. Then they begin to create themselves without any help from me and do or say things I wasn’t expecting. I work on the assumption that if the characters become real enough, the action will also become natural.

The one thing I do need from the start is not a plot but a theme. Something like isolation or guilt or motherlove, which drives the whole story.

 

2 Do you have a writing ritual? Meditation, certain cup for your tea, writing trousers?

No ritual whatsoever, unless you include removing the cat from the keyboard at regular intervals, and I don’t care what mug I drink from, as long as there’s caffeine. But I do have a pattern, I suppose. I start writing as soon as I wake up. Don’t bother getting out of bed: dressing is a waste of writing time. I write until I really have to get up and do something else. Afternoons are good for research, but my mind is too occupied with other things by then for total immersion. Finally, unless it’s absolutely tipping down, I always go for a walk after dinner and let my story play itself out like a film in my head. It’s the best way to let problems find their own solution.

 

3 Aside from writing, what makes you tick? Tell us 5 things about yourself we probably don’t know.

  1. I ran a restaurant because I like cooking, but I really like it as an essential stage in eating the finished product. A sort of foreplay. I’m not so strong on cakes because they really need precision in following recipes. I’m more of a spontaneous-rummage-in-the-fridge-and-improvise sort of cook.
  2. Given the weather and a lack of other commitments, I’d walk all day. Of course having the Pembrokeshire coast path down the road is a help. I used to run every day but my knees no longer work. I used to climb Snowdon once a year, but now my knees seize up just thinking about it.
  3. Nobody could ever say I wasn’t opinionated. I was known for it at school and why change the habits of a lifetime? It is excellent aerobic exercise, shouting and throwing things at TVs and radios.
  4. I make miniature furniture – dollshouse furniture for collectors, mostly elaborately carved Tudor and Medieval. It’s my alternative means of earning a living and I’ve been doing it for 35 years. Eyesight problems are making it increasingly problematic, but I keep going.
  5. I love houses, their evolution and all the history fossilised in them. Big country houses, ruined castles, 1930s semis, half-timbered cottages, iron-age post-holes in the ground.

  

4 If you were stranded on a desert island with shelter, food and water, what 5 items would you

want with you?

  1. A laptop with solar charger
  2. Inexhaustible wine (and a corkscrew).
  3. A really good carbon steel cook’s knife.
  4. I don’t do glare.
  5. A spider catcher.

 

5 On said island, what 5 books would you take and why?

  1. Mansfield Park. Really any of Jane Austen’s books, but that one’s the most complicated, I think.
  2. The Bell, by Iris Murdoch. A regular read full of enchanting imagery, quirky characters, deep thoughts, amusing quotations and it breaks all the current literary rules.
  3. Lord of the Rings, because, although I adored it when young, I haven’t read it for years and it’s nice and long. It set a trend for fantasy novels, but a lot that came after missed some of the elements that made it a success.
  4. Margaret Attwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, because it’s even more relevant in today’s world than it was when she wrote it and I’d like to be reminded how lucky I was to be marooned on a desert island.
  5. Albi by Hilary Shepherd, which I have just read, because it’s huge, not just in length but in scope, focussing on the intensely small and personal and yet highlighting the widest issues of humanity.

 

6 Off the island now, which famous person would you like to have dinner with?­

That’s a difficult one. Lots of people I’d like to meet and question, but what if they were a huge disappointment? What if they were really boring? I think I’d plump for Shakespeare. Lots of questions to answer there and I don’t think he’d be too dull. I might have trouble with his sense of humour though.

 

7 Your current writing projects?

I like my books to be complete in themselves, and I never had a fancy to write a series, but I’ve suddenly been overcome by an urge to write a prequel to my first novel, A Time For Silence. I made a start on it a couple of years ago with a short story that keeps nagging me.

 

 8 Narberth Book Fair must take up a lot of time. Why have you got involved?

I was delighted when Judith Barrow held the first fair (in Tenby) because it was a chance to emerge from the private troll’s lair where authors work all alone and meet the public with my books. Or book as it was then. I was delighted to join the team because book fairs are a rare opportunity for indie authors or authors with small indie publishers to showcase their work. We could write the greatest book in the history of humanity but we would still be unlikely to find ourselves in W H Smiths or in the window of Waterstone’s. Book fairs offer that chance to be seen, and heard, but nobody is going to organise them for us so we do it ourselves. I’m gratified that we’ve been able to showcase an increasing number of authors to an ever-increasing audience. Hard work but worth it.

 

9 Other published work and links….

A Time For Silence https://amzn.to/2v6zvPH

Motherlove https://amzn.to/2M3jmkM

The Unravelling https://amzn.to/2LOxAsO

Shadows https://amzn.to/2mYgCKv

Long Shadows https://amzn.to/2NX0QLi

 

Blog: http://thornemoore.blogspot.co.uk

website: www.thornemoore.co.uk

FB Author page: https://www.facebook.com/thornemoorenovelist

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ThorneMoore

Amazon author page http://amzn.to/1Ruu9m1

 

NARBERTH BOOK FAIR www.narberthbookfair.co.uk

https://www.facebook.com/events/187825558612624/

 

Thank you so much, Thorne for sharing with us…you’ll have to come and poke around in my old house one day!

Check out the website for the Narberth Book fair or the Facebook page and be sure to find out more about Thorne’s novels…I’ve Long Shadows on my kindle which I’m itching to start!

Support book fairs! They’re a brilliant way to introduce children to books and to meet the author behind the stories you love.

 

See you on 22nd at Narberth!

 

 

 

Hubble Bubble, Book fair double

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I shall be attending back to back book fairs in September!

The Narberth Book Fair is 22nd and hosts over 40 authors, something for everyone! You can check out the authors on the Narberth Book Fair website https://www.narberthbookfair.co.uk/authors.html

On 29th September, I’m at the Llandysul Book Fair hosted by Parlour Press Publishing.

This is a brand new event, so come along and support local authors. There’s not just adult fiction, but children’s books and poetry too.

Treat yourself or buy a book for a gift. I look forward to meeting you.

The Book Fair Blues

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I was at the Carmarthen Book fair on Saturday, sharing a table with my good friend, Nicola Beechsquirrel.

The book fair was founded by Sarada and John Thompson (You can find out more about them here https://wendysteele.com/2018/08/06/john-thompson-author-and-gentleman/

and here https://wendysteele.com/2018/08/08/sarada-thompson-giver-of-light/

It’s always a friendly book fair; the authors are always helpful and happy to share ideas, and the public are there because they love books. A great range of genres were represented and special guest this year was Dr. Paul Wright, Head of Cultural Studies Lampeter & Course Director for the BA in English and the International Foundation programme, manning the table for the University of Wales, Trinity Saint David, featuring course studies of Literature & Creative Writing.

The morning was quiet, a gentle trickle of shoppers seeking out a little diversion and tea and cake from the fabulous Caffi Iechyd Da. I had a great morning, chatting about magical writing and listening to the general public’s take on magic.

And then the rain came down. We had a few soggy customers, but not many, which was a shame with all the gorgeous goodies on show. Nicola had a good day, chatting about her family history and sending book buyers home happy.

The blues began in the afternoon, drip dripping into my consciousness, started by a comment made to the delightful children’s author Angela Fish. A lady stood at her stall, so Angela began telling her about her books. “You needn’t bother,” said the lady, “I don’t read books and nor do my grandchildren.”

On Sunday I spent the morning thinking about how we can attract more adults and children to books fairs. In this age of celebrity, who wouldn’t want to meet the author behind the words we love to read? Social media gives us the opportunity to form a link that wouldn’t have been possible twenty years ago, but is that why meeting authors ‘in real life’ is no longer so exciting? Has the creation of the digital format for books taken away the ‘real person’ behind the words?

I handed out more business cards on Saturday than I’ve done at any other book fairs, to readers who read on kindle, so some of them were there, but in the same way as I believe there will always be a place for real, tactile, gorgeous paper books, we mustn’t lose the opportunity to interact in person. You can’t beat meeting people in the flesh, listening to their stories and sharing their lives, if only for a few minutes.

I beat the blues with a walk on my riverbank in the rain. I watched the drops bounce off the leaves from my seat in our shelter, ripples forming and spreading on the water as the river hurried by. The rain refreshed me, the Welsh landscape soothed me and I hurried home, inspired to pick up my fountain pen and allow the magic to flow once more.

 

 

Sarada Thompson – giver of light

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The Carmarthen Book Fair is this Saturday, 11th August, created and organised by the fabulous, John and Sarada Thompson.

I invited them both to share a little more about themselves on my blog. John was earlier in the week https://wendysteele.com/2018/08/06/john-thompson-author-and-gentleman/ and today is Sarada’s turn. I’ve never met anyone who radiates warmth and love the way she does. Thank you so much Sarada for sharing with us.

1 How do you write? Is everything plotted, planned to perfection? Do you ever change tack as

you go along or always stick to a pre-made plan?

I write when the muse calls. An idea which could develop into a plan, which gets derailed by the story which usually has a life of its own. Having started as a reporter for newspapers, always thought myself as a writer of non-fiction, until I found myself writing fiction and enjoying it.

 2 Do you have a writing ritual? Meditation, certain cup for your tea, writing trousers?

 No rituals, but I do like my cups of chai-tea. And a hot-water bottle for my feet as I do literally get cold feet.

 3 Aside from writing, what makes you tick? Tell us 5 things about yourself we probably don’t know.

  1. My family & friends
  2. I love my Hindu cultural heritage
  3. I love drawing and painting
  4. Classical music – both Indian & Western
  5. Listening to different stories.

 

4. If you were stranded on a desert island with shelter, food and water, what 5 items would you

want with you?

  1. Paper & pens to draw & paint, to doodle
  2. My favourite CDs
  3. A good supply of chai-tea
  4. My beads
  5. A kit to signal, ‘I’m Ok.’

5 On said island, what 5 books would you take and why?

 

  1. Mahabharata by Kamala Subramanium – I will have time to digest the finer points thoroughly.
  2. Siddhartha by Herman Hesse – always my favourite
  3. Judas, Man of Myths by John Thompson – I’ll have time to reflect and be inspired on this view more than the institutionalized one.
  4. Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – The issues addressed here – religion, hypocrisy, coming-of-age, domestic violence – would be derivative and clichéd in the hands of a lesser writer. Powerful.
  5. Sort Stories by my grandchildren Shivani12 & Raman Cook 9 Although so young, their insights in the open childlike way enthrals & inspires pride & hope.

 6 Off the island now, which famous person would you like to have dinner with?­

Amma – The Hugging Saint

7 Your current writing projects?

  1. A similar story yet different – quite bizarre for it is founded on legend: ‘The Celestial Flower’
    Theme: ‘Every Saint; a sinner.’
  2. Quite a few more of the picture stories – I hope my hand is steady to continue illustrating.
  3. Some Short Stories over the years , which are not typical of what people would expect of me.8 Other published work and links….Neem Tree – Publication Date – 11th August 2018 – to be launched at Carmarthen Book FairPicture Books : Ten Tales of Ganesha;
    Meenakshi Devi: The Green Goddess;
    Savitri; Durga: The Demon Slayer. Here we have ten stories of the famous elephant-headed Lord Ganesha – from how Lord Ganesha got his elephant head to the story of Lord Ganesh and the frogs! The stories are esentially an allegory of the soul’s journey toward enlightenment, but some stories are utterly down-to-earth, playful stories about simple folk with a God.   Savitri is about to lose the love of her life. Is there any way she can prevent this from happening? What will Savitri do? Will she be prepared to go to the end of the world and beyond – to the Land of the Dead and perhaps intercede with Lord Yama, the Soul-Collector, himself?This is the story of the legendary Meenakshi, the Warrior Princess of Madurai. Born in ancient times in a land ruled by men, Meenakshi refuses to be ruled by them. Who is this courageous soul and what will become of her?

Check out the website http://thompson-authors.com/

Thank you so much Sarada and John for joining me this week and sharing with your readers. Don’t forget, you can meet them and a host of other fabulous authors at the Carmarthen Book Fair this Saturday. We’re waiting to talk books with you all!

 

 

John Thompson – Author and gentleman

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This Saturday 11th August is the Carmarthen Book Fair, created and organised by two of my favourite people, John and Sarada Thompson.

I met them at the Llandeilo Book Fair a few years ago and we’ve been friends ever since. I invited them to come and share a little more about themselves.

Today is John’s turn to let us into his creative mind and tell us more about what makes him tick, and I have to say, I learned a few things and love so many of these answers.  Thank you so much, John for sharing with us..

1 How do you write? Is everything plotted, planned to perfection? Do you ever change tack as

you go along or always stick to a pre-made plan?

I have a general plan of how the story should go, but often find that as characters develop, the plot has to move in a direction I had not envisaged  –  including bringing in more characters.  I never stick rigidly to a plot-line  –  I’m a great believer in letting things take their course.

2 Do you have a writing ritual? Meditation, certain cup for your tea, writing trousers?

 No, no rituals.

3 Aside from writing, what makes you tick? Tell us 5 things about yourself we probably don’t know.

1) I’m a sports fanatic (excepting snooker and golf!)  –  have supported Arsenal for over 60 years

2) I’m very sentimental –  I still cherish the moment I held my first grandchild over 16 years ago

3) I love India and can’t wait to go back  –  but you probably knew that

4) I’m very left-wing  –  you would probably have guessed that too

5) I worry that I won’t live long enough to write all the stories that buzz around in my mind

4 If you were stranded on a desert island with shelter, food and water, what 5 items would you

want with you?

1) a solar-powered hi-fi set

2) a complete set of classical CDs (excluding very modern stuff)

3) a set of wine-making equipment

4) lots of paper and pens

5) a bundle of puzzle books – sudoku, word wheel, crossword etc.

5 On said island, what 5 books would you take and why?

 1) War and Peace  –  having taken years to read it when I was much younger, I feel I’d have the time to get through it again

2) Wolf Hall  –  I just loved Mantel’s take on Thomas Cromwell

3) Pride and Prejudice  –  probably my favourite book of all time, filled with wonderfully drawn characters;

4) The Lord of the Rings  –  I’ve read it a dozen times over the years, so a few more wouldn’t hurt

5) Bleak House  – or any other Dickens novel  –  the supreme story-teller.

6 Off the island now, which famous person would you like to have dinner with?­

No-one.

 7 Your current writing projects?

 Currently planning the final volume of the Brindavan series, and in the middle of writing a number of children’s books: 1) a boy who wants to be a good footballer is coached by the ghost of Stanley Matthews; 2) a boy from the 15th century who was transported into a magical world through an enchanted mirror finds himself in the 21st century; 3) the Ringo stories  –  about a magician turned into a dog but retaining his magical powers.

8 Other published work and links…

The first two volumes of the Brindavan Chronicle –  Genesis and Nemesis  –  were published in 2015 and 2017; Judas, the Man Behind the Myth is due to be published on 11th August.  I have also a number of short-story booklets: 1) Adventures in Time – stories for children; 2) Beyond Boundaries  –  unearthly tales; 3) The Female of the Species  –  stories of women who seek revenge for ill-treatment; 4) Strange Encounters  –  ghost stories.

 

You can find links to these books on John’s author page https://www.amazon.co.uk/John-Thompson/e/B012NZ3V8W/ref

 

 

 

Be in a book Take 2

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So….I came up with this really cool idea….how much fun would it be for a reader to be in the book they were reading? Sarah at Y Stiwdio Brint tidied up my art work and we were off…Gorgeous poster…fabulous application form…but for some reason, readers are being shy.

In my corridor position in the Great Glasshouse at the National Botanic Garden the other week, I set up a huge poster beside my stall, pinned to a mic stand, right in ones eyeline. I approached a few browsers, only to find they were reading the notices on the wall behind the stall! I handed out small leaflets and copies of the application form for readers to complete at home, but as yet, I’ve received no entries from that event.

There’s two weeks to go before the deadline and I’d love to hear from you. There’s a FREE story to be downloaded just for taking part, so pick up your pen and join in my Summer Special Giveaway today and Be in a Book! https://www.facebook.com/events/2092900517659645/

 

 

 

Witch Lit is Magical Writing!

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I had a lovely day at the National Botanic Garden of Wales on Saturday at their storytelling event, Plant & Plots, talking to the public about the inspirational, magical landscape of Wales, writing and Witch Lit.

Some people are confused when they see the word ‘witch’. In their minds, witch = demons/devils/black magic/sorcery/Satan/baby killers, not necessarily in that order. While many are interested in the idea of living in harmony with nature, giving back and celebrating the beauty and bounty of the planet and taking time to be present and appreciate all that life has to offer, some cannot see beyond the above list. Saturday was no exception; I stood and took the spitting abuse and personal remarks, as well as the advice that I should ‘look to my Bible’.

Brought up in a Christian household, I went to Sunday School and church and became a Sunday School teacher. I’ve always loved the stories of Jesus, full of kindness, compassion and common sense. As a pagan and a witch, I have no problem appreciating Jesus as a prophet before his time, in the same way Buddha was. I’ve read many books by the Dalai Lama and the inspirational Amma, Mata Amritanandamayi, has my vote as one of the most important and influential women of this time.

As a witch, I follow no organised religion, only a path of love, kindness and compassion towards the planet and all those who live on her.

That’s what I want to inspire with my books. The Lizzie Martin series is funny, the stories are compelling and Lizzie uses magic in her every day life to help her with the stresses many of us face. She is a strong woman. She likes men, but doesn’t need a man to define her.

Witch Lit is magical writing of every kind; prose, poetry and song. Join the #witchlitrevolution and bring a little magic into every day of your life.

 

Face to face at the Book Fair

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On Saturday 21st July, the National Botanic Gardens of Wales held a storytelling event and book fair called Plant & Plots. I was invited to bring my books along to set up a stand in the Great Glasshouse.

All began well at 8.30am. The plants are amazing and the thought of spending all day with them, and meeting the plant loving public, filled me with excitement.

More authors arrived. I was opposite the fabulous children’s author, Angela Fish and we chatted about the prospects for the day and our books. Her stories are wonderful with glorious illustrations. I was sure every parent and child who walked passed would love one of her books.

I’d recently linked up online with Cheryl Beer, a poet and organiser of a new book fair for September 29th this year in Llandysul, so it was lovely to meet her ‘in real life’ and have a chat. Thorne Moore was there with her clever book stand to keep the drips off her books, and her books of course, psychological mysteries or ‘domestic noir’, exploring the reasons for crimes and their consequences. It was lovely to see Judith Barrow after she interviewed me for Showboat TV, and her wonderful family sagas. Thorne and Judith are the brains and beauty (and damned hard work!) behind the Narberth Book Fair, this year on 22nd September. Check out the fabulous website they have created. http://www.narberthbookfair.co.uk/

Sarada and John Thompson, organisers of the Carmarthen Book Fair on 11th August, invited me to the event, so it was lovely to catch up with them and their work.

And then the sun came out…. and nost of the public chose not to come in. I didn’t blame them. I love the sun, am very happy in it, but the heat and humidity were unbearable. Angela and I took turns to get fresh air, but it was a struggle returning. After a few hours, we nabbed someone to put an industrial fab on which helped a bit, but by 3pm, I was beginning to feel unwell. A meeting of authors was called. Graham Watkins spoke to those in charge of the event and we were offered a table in the Gallery for the following day, but I chose to leave space for others on this occasion; my broken toe is still mending!

I shall definitely return to the Botanic Gardens and I did meet some lovely people. I talked at length to a wonderful gentleman about the magical landscape of Wiltshire and I danced with a little fairy who called me the purple lady. In this digital age, you just can’t beat chatting about books and inspiration face to face.

Don’t forget my Summer Special Giveaway Be in a Book! In three easy steps, you can be yourself in my next novel!